Life

Rental Opportunity of the Week: What £900 Gets You in London's Trendiest Neighbourhood

From the listing: "For optimal living, tenant would need to be able to maintain a lifestyle more in line with that of a large camper van."
13 May 2020, 11:22am
studio flat victoria park
Photos: Rightmove

What is it? To quote from the listing: "Minimalist studio apartment for one person," which of course, if you have been paying attention to this column and the market it reflects for the past two or three years, actually means "very tiny shithole, like literally someone's cupboard-room, converted into a studio with the aid of a fold-down bed".
Where is it? Directly adjacent to London's hip and swinging Covid hangout, Victoria Park.
What is there to do locally? I mean, very literally, in the era of lockdown, the main thing to do in Hackney and east London is "obey the law by going to the park at the weekend but getting long-lens papped by some weird lad who works for a 'think-tank' who then posts the photo of you and the crowd around you to Twitter with a caption like "disgusted 😤 😤 these people have blood on their hands', even though the Weird Think-tank Lad (W.T.L.) was in the park at the same time, and that information is seemingly ignored because he was in there grassing, In Times Of Crisis We Turn And Love The Snitch, and then the picture goes viral and loads of those strange older-generation media wonks – you know the ones, tight face and blue tick and 200,000 followers, but you don't really know who they are because they only present news on some niche time slot on Sky, but your dad recognises them – and Whatshisface Bluetick quote-tweets the picture saying "arrest these covidiots" and you have to shave your head and change your identity and move house all so a load of red-faced heart-attacks-in-waiting who are mad at Brexit still from one side or another don’t find your address and write to your employer demanding that you "get fired because you ate an ice cream in broad daylight, once", something like that. In peacetime there's loads of stuff to do around here, obviously. But right now, that's the main one.
Alright, how much are they asking? £900 pcm.

I have never actually read a description like the one for this listing. I mean, look at this. Have a look at this:

The flat is very small but does boast a very comfortable pull-down kingsize bed. When stowed away during the day it converts into a two person sofa with cushions. The pull-down mechanism is slick and modern but the tenant will need some basic agility to get comfortable with this daily. Due to the limited space in the flat I strongly recommend a viewing before any commitment - while it might be perfect for some it won't be for everyone. For optimal living tenant would need to be organised and tidy, and able to maintain a living lifestyle more in line with that of a large (and lovely) camper van. The flat comes fully furnished (but can also not) and rent includes wifi and all bills and utilities.

Now with annotations:

The flat is very small but does boast a very comfortable pull-down kingsize bed (this is the first lie: at best, that bed is European double). When stowed away during the day it converts into a two person sofa with cushions (you can either have a bed or a sofa: you cannot have both). The pull-down mechanism is slick and modern but the tenant will need some basic agility to get comfortable with this daily (hope you can fucking jump because you’re not getting into bed unless you can do a finishing move on the entire arrangement). Due to the limited space in the flat I strongly recommend a viewing before any commitment - while it might be perfect for some it won't be for everyone (annoyingly I have to concede that this is quite honest and upfront, but charging £900 for a very small room which even you admit is unideal for actually living in is A Bit Fucking Rich, isn’t it). For optimal living tenant would need to be organised and tidy, and able to maintain a living lifestyle more in line with that of a large (and lovely) camper van (this flat is perfect for someone looking to make the jump from living in their car, and who recognises that even one jumper left on the floor would ruin their life entirely). The flat comes fully furnished (but can also not) and rent includes wifi and all bills and utilities (this sentence is fine I don’t need to go in on it).

Right, here's the thing: though I do cherish the rare honest tone of this listing, the person who wrote it should still be in a gulag, or something, in my opinion. Because if you look at this room as just a room – if you mentally shed the washing machine, the kitchenette, the tiny wedge of bathroom afforded to you, even the bed itself; if you fold that up in your imagination and leave just the sofa facing the TV – this room is an intensely small, impractical room.

In any normal house you would look at this room and go, "Not a lot we can do with this, is there. I guess we could turn it into a very small office. Or let a child live in there up to around the age of eight. But otherwise this room is too small to really do anything with. I think we should just designate this the 'spare room' and leave a load of old hobbycrafts and the ironing board in there." This is what a normal human being would do. But whoever owns this room went Hold On, Fuck Off, No. Wedge a double bed in here, definitely. Tack it to the wall so it folds down. We can definitely get some cunt to pay close to a grand a month to sleep in there.

There's a fundamental incongruence to this place. On the one hand, there’s been a concerted effort made to make it nice: the tasteful tiling in the bathroom, the cleanliness, the plants, the framed prints and the big TV. But also: your kitchen is made of a complicated shelving arrangement where a vast percentage of the available storage space is dedicated to giving access to the gas meter, the wardrobe only holds five hangers, there’s a random pipe edging out of the wall, you can roll directly out of your bed through a window onto someone else's tarmacked roof, and the whole flat – the entire flat! – is slightly less than the size of my current bedroom, which I am not going to put photos of up on here, but I consider to be modest. Like: yes, there’s dangling foliage and a shiny chrome toaster. But also your hob’s built into your sink and you have to tip your bed against a wall after every time you sleep in it.

On one hand: doorbell cam so you can see whoever’s visiting and safely approve them. On the other: smoke alarm mounted into an angled ceiling to just about tick rental regulation.

Is this place nice? No, but yes. If you went to prison and this is what they opened the door and let you in to, you would be buzzing. Only, it's not prison, it’s actually an above-market average studio flat in someone else’s house, in east London, and the landlord thinks they are a nice person because they warned you about this, didn’t they, they said it would be like living in a van but not, but actually they are a sly little lizard cunt just like the rest of them, and though they have exceptional taste in bathroom tiles they’re still just another carcass waiting for a hole.

This rental opportunity has been taken off the market since I found it, sorry, so if you were dreaming of rolling out of bed and onto a rooftop, then parkouring down that rooftop into Victoria Park – where Sky News has set up a van with Kay Burley outside it to ask you, on camera, Do You Hate Britain's Nans? Is That Why You’re Here? To Kill Them? Do You Want To Be In Lockdown Forever, You Selfish Little Worm? – then sadly you’ll have to wait for the next one of these to pop, inevitably, onto the market. Which at the current rate will be in about six days, maybe seven days. I apologise, sincerely, for getting your hopes up.

@joelgolby

Advertisement